This week saw EEStor CEO and president Richard Weir, who is also a co-inventor, announce that its processes and equipment have apparently been verified by Ed Golla, lab director of Texas Research International, a multidisciplinary research, development and testing company in Austin, Texas. EEStor added that Ian Treviranus of Horiba Instruments says the company’s technology helps maintain sufficient voltage at ideal temperatures. That makes two independent certifications of its ultracapacitor electrical energy storage equipment.

A little due diligence suggests that TRI in Austin and Horiba Instruments are competent to test the EEStor technology. One wonders though, at the bleeding edge of technology if the chemical aspects are understood well enough for competent testing of the EEStor technology and hard verification. The instrumentation would not be an issue. In any case these two certifications jump up the credibility of EEStor dramatically.

Just to amplify the probabilities the competition isn’t laying down. Maxwell Technologies, a known to ship product manufacturer of ultra capacitors, in the past month has seen them sign two new bus-manufacturing deals. Maxwell’s capital burn rate is decreasing while ultra capacitor sales grew a reported 64% 1st quarter ‘08 from 1st ’07.

EEStor Cell Graphic

Ultra capacitors are for real. It looks more and more that the EEStor technology will be real soon too. The EEStor justifiable penchant for secrecy and security may have to give way to shipping product soon. The early claims have suffered since the purification of the capacitor powder and chemical purification work got intense last year.

Canada’s Zenn Motors has a deal for the rights to EEStor technology for automotive applications. Lockheed Martin announced a deal for licensing the technology for use in defense and homeland security applications. This week saw another patent application filed and the executives remain unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile – a blogger has a site dedicated to the EEStor story called “” As with the story so far even the blogger is anonymous. He/she has gone so far as to interview Mr. Weir and report in part on the blog site. It’s interesting even as it triggers native suspicion, skepticism, and cynicism. One wonders what is true there.

It’s either getting amazing or bewildering. Something. It’s a big deal because of the energy storage values and charging and discharging rates. The company expects its barium titanate ceramic ultracapacitor, which it said uses no hazardous materials, to have a charging time of 3 to 6 minutes, with a standby discharge rate of only 0.02 percent over 30 days. EEStor said that compares to more than 3 hours to charge a lithium-ion battery and a discharge rate of 1 percent over 30 days. “It’s all certified,” Mr. Weir says, “No bullshit in this.”

EEStor said the enhancement of its chemical purification processes is one of its most critical technical milestones, but EEStor has yet to release the results of the permittivity testing (aka dielectric constant), which will trigger the next milestone payment from Zenn. The automaker said permittivity is a measurement of how much energy can be stored in a material. Their press release confirms the press release announcement of EEStor. Zenn must be confident; Zenn has already made three milestone payments to EEStor totaling $1.3 million. Another $700,000 is payable after the permittivity testing, with a final $500,000 due when EEStor ships its ultracapacitors.

Where does that leave consumers? The confidence level is getting higher now that the Texas lab and the instrumentation people have been in for a look. What is of some concern are the license terms that may make the products way more expensive than huge market volumes and dominance might suggest. Maxwell is nowhere close to the claims EEStor makes in price and performance. EEStor has information bits out suggesting that the costs vs. lithium ion will be more than competitive, even cheaper.

Against all of this is the lithium industry really hasn’t applied itself to competitive growth as the technology is superior in many ways to others like nickel metal hydride. NiMh is itself cornered by the patents, a huge management mistake that can be laid at the feet of big oil. These points illustrate that as consumers, the technology may well rush past the intellect and business acumen of the principles.

In countering that, one has to give credit to Richard Weir for keeping a lid on the development progress, not making great claims, focusing on the milestones of the process of getting to commercial scale.

At the end of a reanalysis, the technology itself is getting to the point of certainty of something really good. From which the next stage is coming into view, do the people has the qualities needed to make such a technology actually a market disrupter? Will they drive the costs down as fast as possible and make products irresistible? Actually “move the earth as we know it?” No one is saying they are driving to cost competitiveness with lead acid, a sure earth shaker.

The facts strongly suggest we have a new set of interesting concerns coming up that may be more incredible than the technology or a disappointment to rival any in history. We’ll see.


6 Comments so far

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  4. Dan on April 22, 2011 3:08 PM

    Thanks for the information on ultra capacitors

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